After five seasons, 206 appearances and 71 goals – Alexandre Lacazette’s Arsenal career is over.
The striker is leaving the club this summer at the end of his contract, but he takes with him a host of memories from his time in north London.
Signed by Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2017, the Frenchman made an instant impact for the Gunners, scoring just 94 seconds into his Premier League debut, and going on to net 17 times during his first season.
He bettered that tally the following year, scoring 19 times in all competitions, enough for him to be voted Arsenal Player of the Season by the fans.
The next season, now playing under Mikel Arteta, he played a major role in our FA Cup success, lifting the trophy after a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Wembley.
He scored 17 goals during his fourth season at the club, including his 50th in the Premier League, becoming only the 10th Arsenal player to reach that landmark.
And last season he chipped in with several more crucial goals, and led the team as captain for the second half of the campaign.
Speaking to Arsenal Media at the end of the season, the 31-year-old Frenchman said it was time for him to have “a new experience and a new adventure.”
He added: “I want to keep all the good moments I had in the club, because for me it was just a pleasure to play for a club that, since I was young, I dreamt of. I’m really happy to have played for five years for Arsenal.”
He finishes his time here as the 32nd all-time top scorer, and says he is especially proud of winning the club’s Player of the Year award in 2019.
“There’s a board at the stadium with all the winners’ names on, and in my first season I told my dad that one day I would be on it. So I’m really proud I made it,” he explained.
“I really felt at home at the training ground and the stadium – I used to call it my garden!
“When I came to Arsenal, I was a bit like a kid with big names, big players, a lot of pressure, and I was not talking so much.
“Year after year I started to talk more, my English got better, my relationships with people at the club got stronger and with the players as well. So I’m happy for who I am now and where I came from.”
Laca, who scored four times against Spurs, and will go down in history as the first north London derby goalscorer at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, finished his farewell interview with a message for the fans, with him he grew such a strong bond over the past five years.
“I want to say thank you, a big thank you because there was a lot of expectation from me when I signed, the welcome was amazing for me.
“I felt straight away comfortable to play for the team and during my five years it’s been amazing with the fans in the stadium.
“Thank you for the song as well, I never talked about it, but it really touched me a lot and, a big thank you for everything.
“I’ll keep in contact with my team-mates, with the coaches, with the club. I supported Arsenal since I was young, so obviously I’m going to keep supporting them. I know I will come back to the stadium as well.
"Like we say, ‘Once a Gunner, always a Gunner.’”
|Robin van Persie
|Robin van Persie
Copyright 2024 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.